NORTH ADAMS -- Expanded workshops, a second outdoor stage, a municipal camping area and a bluegrass music contest featuring $10,000 in cash prizes and studio time are some of the new features debuting this September at the third installment of FreshGrass, Mass MoCA's three-day bluegrass festival.
"We've already sold tickets after our first announcement of performers. We know that excitement is already brewing and that people are really starting to take notice of FreshGrass," Mass MoCA spokeswoman Jodi Joseph said recently. "What's really awesome about FreshGrass is that it has such an exceptional mix of traditional bluegrass, more cutting-edge bluegrass and a few groups from the folk rock genre that is so wildly popular right now, as well as great American roots music. We have a super strong lineup, and there will be more to follow."
The lineup for the festival, which will run Sept. 20 to 22, will include: The Infamous Stringdusters, Alison Brown, Sam Bush and the Del McCoury Band. More information and additional performers can be found at FreshGrass.com.
"This festival grew significantly from 2011 to 2012, and we're looking forward to welcoming even more friends and families to the festival this year," MoCA Director Joseph Thompson said in a release. The festival is co-produced by Manitou Media.
To accommodate the festival's lineup of more than 20 performers, the museum has added a new main stage in "Joe's Field," a large grassy field near the back of the museum complex.
"We are very excited to be growing this festival, and we think that having actual grass at FreshGrass will be well received," Joseph said. "We're expecting more people this year, so we want to give them room to spread out."
Also new to the festival this year is The FreshGrass Award -- $10,000 in cash prizes awarded for fresh takes on bluegrass music and a top prize that includes recording studio time at Compass Records in Nashville and a chance to perform at FreshGrass in 2014.
"We really excited to have this opportunity to attract new talent locally, regionally and nationally," Joseph said. "The contest is done in partnership with Compass Records, which is Alison Brown's record label. We'll have individuals from all different walks in the music industry here to act as judges."
FreshGrass ticket holders will also have the opportunity to participate in family-friendly activities and various workshops, focusing on instrument-specific playing techniques and industry trends in the bluegrass scene, produced by FreshGrass and Boston's Berklee School of Music's American Roots program.
Another new option this year will be FreshGround, a downtown camping site at the city's Noel Field Athletic Complex, similar to the SolidGround offering of the Solid Sound Festival.
"FreshGround is still in the planning stages, but we expect to be able to book campsites shortly," Joseph said. "It's great that the city is eager to partner with us on this project and to support this festival. It's a big effort on the part of city officials and local volunteers -- the outreach, the effort, the hours they put in -- to make it happen."
To reach Jennifer Huberdeau, email
What: FreshGrass, Mass MoCA's three-day bluegrass festival
When: Sept. 20-23
Where: Mass MoCA, North Adams
Performers: Del McCoury, Leftover Salmon, The Infamous Stringdusters, Sam Bush, The Lone Bellow, Dr. Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys, Bill Evans, Jerry Douglas, Alison Brown, Edgar Meyer and Mike Marshall, The Wood Brothers, Dan Zanes, Elizabeth Mitchell, Lake Street Dive, The Gibson Brothers, Noam Pikelny and Friends, John Reischman and the Jaybirds, Elephant Revival, Darol Anger and Mandolin Orange.
Tickets: Early-bird festival passes are $68 for adults, $58 for students.
After early-bird tickets are gone, general admission pricing is $78 for adults, $68 for students, $38 for children ages 6 to 16. Children 5 and under are free. Day passes will be available closer to the event.